Scootaloo's ears twitched.
Ever since she was sent to Baltimare to serve in the 5th Ground Division, her ears were constantly bombarded with the sound of gunfire. It seemed like it came from every direction, varying in intensity and distance.
Her unit, the 6th Infantry Regiment, was a major infantry unit of the 5th Ground Division. It's main headquarter's base was stationed in Baltimare. For now, Baltimare was also housing an enormous foreign enemy force.
She'd definitely need to get used to the sound if she was gonna stay here long. Now whether or not it was due to dying, going deaf, or mental resolve was yet to be determined.
Scootaloo looked at her temporary ally. It seemed like he didn't even know that this was a battlefield. Even when there was a distant explosion, he acted like nothing had happened.
In the mind of every young and stupid soldier, being unaffected by the loud noises of war (without going deaf) were the signs of a veteran soldier. Now that she had seen what war really was, she no longer wanted any part of it.
"Tran?" Scootaloo called out.
"Yes?" he responded, still walking and facing forward.
"What are you?" she asked again, hoping that he would answer this time.
"Doesn't matter" he responded again.
Scootaloo snorted. "Why are you such a grump?" she asked him. That was when he stopped walking. At first, she hadn't noticed. Only when she walked into his legs, did she realize. 'What the hell?' Scootaloo tried to say but she had a glove covering her mouth. Looking at the offending appendage, she found that , to no surprise, it belonged to the soldier she was following.
She then watched as he laid into a prone firing position, weapon pointed forward. Catching the hint, she laid down too and pointed her rifle forward. Two hundred meters ahead, the aftermath of a short conflict was in full view. The rotting corpses of the enemy (griffons and minotaurs) and allies (ponies and zebras) laid in the street, surrounded by discarded weapons and spent shell casings.
She gasped when she recognized the bodies of the ponies and zebras. It was her squad! Leaping onto her hooves, she started running towards the scene as quickly as her legs carried her.
"Wait!" she heard the grump call out.
She didn't care. Once she made it to the first pony body, she flipped it over. The face she saw belonged to her squad leader. "Sergeant Windy..." she said, looking at the body's still-open eyes. She reached down and closed his eyes. "May you find peace on the other side."
Looking at her sergeant's body, she checked the body's webbed gear. Most of the ammo pouches on his body were still full. Dropping the griffon rifle she was currently armed with, she took the ammo for herself. She unslung her rifle (the one she was originally issued) and reloaded it.
She definitely enjoyed the feeling of being able to use her service rifle again. The much shorter carbine length rifle was perfect for her small, underaged body. As she dumped the ammo she had scavenged for the griffon rifle, she noticed a handgun pouch attached to her platoon sergeant's right leg.
She opened it up and pulled out a Model 92 revolver. The first smile since coming to Baltimare graced her face. "Just like Rainbow Dash's," she said, savoring the feeling. Unlike Rainbow Dash's personal sidearm, this one was the ground/infantry version. Nothing about it was like Rainbow Dash's Model 92. It had the standard 4 inch barrel, had no lanyard loop, and was entirely made of steel (aside from the wood grips).
Despite that, she still treasured it.
In her stupor, she hadn't noticed someone walking up to her until she heard footsteps. She took a quick glance back and noticed the weird shape of whatever species that Tran was. "Just give me a minute."
"Drop the revolver." It wasn't Tran. When she realized that the voice didn't match Tran's, she froze up. "Drop the gun, now!" She dropped her Model 92 and kicked it away from her. "Now turn around, slowly." Once she obeyed the orders, she found herself facing another of whatever Tran was.
While being the same species, this one didn't look anything like Tran. Tran had clearly been wearing a military uniform, the camouflage was a dead giveaway. This one, however, was wearing black jeans, a dark grey hooded jacket, black leather boots, and a black shirt. On top of the clothes, he was wearing a mismatched set of webbed gear that seemed to be pieced together by a child. The basis of the webbing was black leather straps that went around his waist and over his right shoulder. The strap that went around his body was adorned with several square brown leather pouches while the strap that went across his chest held an easy-to-reach knife.
Like with Tran, she couldn't tell much about his face. The jacket's hood was up, obscuring most of his head's features and the features that were present weren't much different from Tran's face. The more important thing was the handgun in his hand. It was a pistol, something that she had never seen before.
In Equestria, pistols were relatively uncommon. For ponies, revolvers were just easier to use and maintain (what maintenance?). Also, the act of reloading an emptied magazine was rather difficult to do with hooves.
Scootaloo didn't know much about pistols. The only thing that she could say about the sidearm was that it was a pistol and it was painted a tan color.
She could also see that he was armed with a rifle but it was slung over the creature's back so she couldn't say much about it. All she could see was a small section of the rifle's barrel that peeked over his shoulder and the rifle's front iron sight.
"Now you're gonna answer a few of my questions," he said.
The soft mechanical click came from her left and the sound was unmistakable, it was the hammer of a gun being cocked back. Both Scootaloo and her ambusher turn to face the source of the sound. Much to her happiness, it was Tran not too far away and he was aiming a revolver (on another side note, it was the single largest revolver she had ever seen) up into the air. Why didn't Tran shoot her attacker like when he had saved her earlier?!
"You know, I thought that was your face when I saw you," Tran said, still pointing the small cannon into the air.
The appearance of Tran seemed to confused her attacker. He started blinking rapidly for a few seconds followed by the lowering of his handgun. "Tran? You're here too?"
Scootaloo looked at Tran, then back to her attacker. "You two know each other?" she exclaimed.
Her attacker looked back at her. "You must be really slow if you haven't realized that by now," he said. He completely lowered the pistol and then lifted up the right side of his jacket, revealing a black holster. He then carefully holstered the pistol and unslung his rifle.
The rifle was a bolt action rifle, a very common sight in this war. Nothing about the rifle was special. It had polished wood finish (also very common in this war), an exposed fixed magazine (also very common in this war), a brown leather sling (so common that finding a rifle without one was beyond rare), and a small rifle scope. The fixed scope, in Scootaloo's eyes, was absolutely puny. It had a small diameter and was short overall. To compare this scope to the scope on Tran's rifle would be the difference between a shed and the largest skyscraper in Equestria.
Tran eyed the rifle. "I see you've added a PU scope to your Mosin like you've always wanted," Tran said.
He looked down at his rifle and smiled at the small scope. "Yep," replied the other... Whatever they were.
What were they!? It was killing her! "What are you things?!" Scootaloo screamed, frustrated at not knowing what they were.
"Americans," replied the other... American? What in Celestia's name was an American?
"What?" asked Scootaloo.
"Logan..." Tran said while facepalming.
Finally! It was a name, something that she could refer to him with! The name "Logan" was a name that sounded a lot like a griffon or a minotaur's name. In Equestria, names were directly tied to a pony's role in society or their special talent. A griffon and or a minotaur's name was often made up at birth. It wasn't meant to mean anything like an Equestrian name. Instead it was more for giving someone something to be called with that was entirely unique to that one being.
He smiled in response to Tran's gesture, clearly happy with the results. "So what's with the tiny horse?" Logan asked.
Wait, what?! Was he referring to her? "Hey!"
Tran took his hand off of his face and looked down at her. "Little tyke started following me after I saved her from some attackers, a lot like a stray cat," Tran replied.
Scootaloo glared at Tran. "Hey!"
Tran stared back. "So you're telling me you're not following me like a stray cat?" Tran asked back. Scootaloo opened her mouth to say something witty back but nothing came to mind. The only thing she could really do was to glare even harder in an attempt to guilt him... Much like a cat. "And to answer your question, we're humans. You can also refer to us as people or person. Just think of us as minotaurs that are more monkey than bull."
Scootaloo just continued to glare at him, still irritated at being called a stray and a tyke.
That was when Logan finally noticed the revolver that Tran was armed with. "Jesus! Why do you have that with you?!" Logan exclaimed. "What are you trying to shoot, elephants?" Tran looked at the revolver held in his left hand, stilled aimed at the sky. He lowered it and then shoved it into a holster on his left hip. "And are those fucking wood grips? Did you just want all of the fucking recoil?"
Tran grinned at the comments. "You should shoot it one handed. It's not that hard if you're used to it."
"I know you're used to it but I'm not!" Logan exclaimed.
Scootaloo completely agreed with the statement. It looked like an absolute cannon. It would even look massive in a minotaur's hands! "What does that even shoot?" Speaking of which, Scootaloo walked over to where her recently acquired revolver was and picked it up.
Tran's smile grew upon hearing her question. "Hand me one of the rounds from that revolver."
Scootaloo looked at the revolver. She had only ever fired the Model 92 once. Rainbow Dash had once taken her to go target shooting, a memory which forever held a spot in her mind. From what she remembered, you had to hit a lever and then swing out the cylinder to reload it. After a good amount of fumbling, she finally managed to do as such. The cylinder swung out to the right, revealing 6 spent shell casings.
Frowning, she looked at the body of her sergeant and dug through his ammo pouches for more ammo. After a short search, she found 5 speed loaders for the Model 92. She stowed all but one of them in her webbed gear, handing the last one to Tran. Tran, holding up the speedloader filled with the six 8mm EO rounds, simply started laughing. Logan, after taking one look at the speedloader, also started laughing.
Why were they laughing? "What?" Scootaloo asked.
Tran stopped laughing and held up the speedloader. "See this?" he said, while slightly shaking the small speedloader. Scootaloo nodded. He then opened up a pouch on his vest and pulled out his own speedloader. The only difference? Well, the speedloader's excessive size embarrassed her.